Southern Crossings 1

Avery Island, Louisiana

When I travel south from Wolf Gap, I remain atop the Cumberland Plateau all the way to Chattanooga and into northern Georgia. Somewhere south of the Chattahoochee River I begin to sense that I’ve left behind the Upland South and entered the Deep South. The land begins to grade gently toward the coastal plain. The air becomes warm and thick with humidity. Slow-moving rivers appear in the landscape like twisting brown snakes — Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Ocmulgee, Pearl, Calcasieu, their banks overgrown with thickets of southern trees, vines, and subtropical plants. Cultivated pinewoods are interspersed with cotton fields and peanut farms, wetlands, and mansions and old shacks equally graced with giant live oaks. I began a series of photographs of the southern landscape with the simple intention of having adventures and making visual discoveries of the South. I sought no universal meaning or overarching theme for my images. I visited the South’s flashy cities and run-down fishing camps, suburban housing tracts and antebellum mansions and plantations, recycled heritage parks, beaches, and small towns whose vitality has been drained by nearby shopping malls. Like any American region, the Deep South transcends labels and categories, and it is ever-changing when a person chooses to cross it.

Mississippi Sound (“Good View”), Gulf of Mexico